City Parks Tennis Court Mix-Use Update

Here's a letter sent out from the city with an update for alternative tennis court use. Not looking great for us, and no courts in our area seem to be in consideration.



DATE: October 25, 2010

TO: Board of Park Commissioners

FROM: Dennis Cook, Parks Athletics Manager

SUBJECT: Proposed Criteria for Allowing Alternate Use on Tennis Courts


Requested Board Action
This is a follow-up paper on the proposed change of use for some of Seattle Parks’ tennis
courts to allow non tennis activity. The Board held a public hearing at its September
23rd meeting. At the October 28th meeting we are asking the Board for a
recommendation on criteria for identifying courts suitable for alternate use.

Project Description and Background
Due to the increasing popularity of activities such as dodge ball, bike polo, in-line skating
and street hockey, Seattle Parks and Recreation has endeavored to find locations to
accommodate these sports. Parks initially proposed allowing non tennis court activities
on tennis courts that were determined to have low use for tennis.

However, identifying tennis courts as “low use” has been a challenge. Parks keeps data
only on permitted use of courts and does not have the ability to monitor drop-in use.
(Permits are used to reserve courts to insure use for schools, camps and sometimes
individuals.) Therefore, Parks is recommending using the term “alternate use” rather
than low use.

Staff is recommending a three tier eligibility criteria (Attachment A) which will be used
to identify courts suitable for alternate use. The criteria describe first tier, competitive
tennis courts that would be persevered solely for tennis use. Second tier courts would not
be subjected to bikes, skates and sticks that would damage community center /recreation
tennis courts. The third tier of courts has the ability to withstand bikes, skates, sticks and
other play and there are other courts nearby for tennis play. Examples of courts that
would fall in each tier are provided.

Public Involvement Process
The Board held a public hearing September 23, 2010. A large number of e-mails and
letters have been received regarding alternate use of tennis courts. As of Friday, October
22nd the department had received 137 pro alternative use letters and a petition in support
of dodge ball with 631 signatures; and 67 letters against alternative use and a petition
with 52 signatures. Additional correspondence on the issue will be forwarded to the
Board as it is received.

Additional Information:
Dennis Cook: dennis.cook@seattle.gov


Attachment A
Proposed Criteria for Selecting Alternate Use Tennis Courts

Changing Tennis Courts to Alternative Use Courts
Eligibility Criteria

• Geographic dispersal of court locations throughout the city
• Proximity to other tennis courts
• Maintenance history and general condition of the court
• Court surface material
• Frequency of use by tennis players
• Demonstrated high demand for alternative uses



Tier 1: Major Tennis Complexes/Competitive Courts: (Not recommended for
other activities besides tennis)
• Color Coated
• 3 or more courts
• High school practices/matches
• Highly permitted
• Other courts within 1.5 mile radius

Examples of courts that represent the Major Tennis Complexes: Lower
Woodland, Meadowbrook, Lincoln Park

Tier 2: Community Center / Recreational Courts: (Potential for activities other
than tennis but not wheeled or stick sports)
• Two or less courts
• Color coated
• Concrete with asphalt topcoat
• Other courts within 1.5 mile radius
• High school practices only

Examples of courts that represent the Community Center / Recreation Courts:
Jefferson, Rainier, Green Lake East, Cal Anderson

Tier 3: Neighborhood Courts: (Potential for activities including wheeled and
stick sports)
• Two or less courts
• Concrete surfaces
• Non color coated
• Other courts within 1.5 mile radius


Examples of courts that represent the Neighborhood Courts: Judkins (south Seattle on I-90 cap), Hutchinson (south of Seward Park), Cowen (Ravena/U District), Dearborn Park (Beacon Hill)

Court Alternate Use Decision Process

1. Request initiated by non tennis user group to department for an alternative use;
2. Park staff determination that court meets suitability for alternative use;
3. Public notification of proposed change in court use: Parks posts a sign at the
facility or a mailing to surrounding neighbors identifying the proposed change to
the courts;
4. Allow 30 days for comments;
5. Review of comments;
6. Decision made by the Superintendent; and
7. Implement evaluation process to determine effects of change of use.

RULES
Similar to tennis court standard rules
Participation policy
Code of conduct
No alcohol
No smoking
No Dogs

FEES
No fees for drop-in use
Similar to tennis fees for court reservations

Additional facilities that may be considered as alternatives to tennis courts
Parks outdoor basketball courts
School District Property (playgrounds )
Parking lots


Views: 229

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Comment by Joe Eliasen on November 2, 2010 at 10:07am
I suggest we go the same route as the skateboarders, dodgeballers and bike poloers (new word). Just take over some courts that work for us until the tennis players bitch and make a big deal of it and then the City relents and gives us what we want????? Probably not huh?

Vinnie I went and checked out Cowen park the other day and those gaps are approx 72' if you want to shut the whole hole up. The short way there is 120' though maybe a little short, not sure?
Comment by ML on November 2, 2010 at 9:11am
Here the email:

SEATTLE PARKS TO ALLOW DODGEBALL, BIKE POLO
AT ONE CAL ANDERSON PARK TENNIS COURT
Bike polo to be allowed at Judkins Park courts

Following a public process and a recommendation from the Board of Park Commissioners, Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams has decided to allow dodgeball and bike polo at one of the two Cal Anderson Park tennis courts for 18 months starting today.

The second court at Cal Anderson Park is for tennis only, and Parks will post signage stating that. Bike polo and dodgeball are also allowed at the two concrete courts at Judkins Park, 2150 S Norman St., for 18 months. The Judkins Park courts are not separated by a fence.

“We believe we’ve forged a reasonable compromise that will accommodate both tennis players and people who participate in newly popular sports and need a place to play,” Williams said. “In the coming weeks we will work with representatives of all these groups to draft a courtesy code that will make sure all players show each other mutual respect and that they care for this public property.”

At the Cal Anderson Park tennis court, 1635 11th Ave., and at Judkins Park, dodgeball and bike polo play will take place on a first-come, first-served basis. Players can call the Parks Athletic Office at 206-684-4062, to reserve the courts at either park. All other tennis courts are for tennis use only.

At the end of the 18-month period, Parks staff will conduct an evaluation of the success of the arrangement, and will make a recommendation to the Park Board on whether to continue it.
Comment by ML on November 2, 2010 at 9:10am
I just got a letter from the city saying some courts have been approved for mixed use! Steve I assume you got the same letter??
Comment by Ron Niemi on October 27, 2010 at 8:12am
I always see a guy on craigslist that sells used fish and sport netting for CHEAP. It would be a lot more manageable than chain link. Here is his link www.thenetshed.net
Comment by vp on October 26, 2010 at 6:12pm
No tennis nets at Cowen park courts. I bet we could play there right now without anyone bothering us. We only need to fill in the two 10-20 ft gaps at both ends of the courts. Playing without fencing behind the goal not an option. Anyone with an idea? Buy chainlink fence at the Depot?
Comment by Shnoy on October 25, 2010 at 6:33pm
Cowen Park wouldn't be a bad spot. Snowball's chance in hell I'm sure.

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